Bar hopping is a popular weekend pastime for many people, however a relatively new concept has emerged that is gaining momentum: restaurant hopping. So what is restaurant hopping? In essence it is similar to bar hopping except it is done with restaurants. A person (or persons) would visit one restaurant for drinks and an appetizer, another for their entrée and another for dessert. It sounds a little convoluted at first, however it is easy to get the hang of once you start. Restaurant hopping is usually done in large cities like Dallas or Memphis, however Fort Smith’s dining scene is large enough to restaurant hop every night of the week and not use the same pattern twice. This is the first of several articles that this examiner will produce on restaurant hopping, and he will start in a part of Fort Smith that many like to frequent on the weekend: Downtown. There are several different ways that this can be done, but here is a pattern that is perfect for those new to the concept of restaurant hopping.
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This is a restaurant that would be a great place to have your entrée at, but this examiner is choosing this as the first stop because aside from great food Bricktown Brewery, located at 318 Garrison Ave, is also a micro-brewery that serves eight hand-crafted beers. A perfect way to start your meal off is by ordering a sampler of those beers. The sampler features all eight beers served under a laminated sheet that provides information on those beers. Now comes the appetizer. The best appetizer to get if you are restaurant hopping as a group is Bricktown’s Chopped and Chipped Nachos. These nachos are served skillet-style and covered with slow cooked pork, Single String Stout Sriracha BBQ sauce, a unique blend of cheeses, sour cream and topped with a single roasted jalapeno on top. As this examiner said earlier, this is the appetizer to get when you are restaurant hopping with other people, because the Chopped and Chipped Nachos are large enough to be a meal by themselves, and that would ruin the rest of the night. If you are restaurant hopping solo, then you may want to order the Loaded Bricktown Chips. While not as filling as the Chopped and Chipped Nachos, the Loaded Bricktown Nachos are made with chopped sweet peppered bacon, onions and topped with buffalo bleu cheese sauce and a jalapeno. As you can see these chips are formidable in their own way, but won’t spoil your appetite for the rest of the evening.
At this point, you can proceed several different ways. If you had the Chopped and Chipped Nachos at Bricktown Brewery, you may want to continue with the Latino-inspired trend for your restaurant hopping experience. This examiner recommends that you visit La Huerta located at 400 Garrison Ave. Not only does La Huerta serve some of the best Mexican dishes around, but they also have an outdoor patio that is perfect for enjoying summer nights in Fort Smith. The restaurant also offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights, so customers could enjoy some of the city’s best musical talent as they dine. Depending on your mood, you can choose familiar items like the Colorado Burrito or maybe try something a little more exotic like the Grilled Tilapia or the Pollo Loco. If you have a hard time choosing your items, then consider the Special Dinner. This entrée is a lot like a sampler because it offers several different items: a chalupa, taco, chile relleno, enchilada and tamale. The Special Dinner is a great way to sample various menu items in one sitting without incurring a huge bill or belly. Besides there is still desert to think about.
Rolando’s, located at 223 Garrison Ave, was this examiner’s initial choice for the entrée, but after considering their dessert menu it was clear that Rolando’s should be the place to go for a great dessert. If you are restaurant hopping with a date, order the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. This tempting dessert is a great way to top off a great date night, besides who can resist white chocolate? While this examiner is not as skilled with wine, he does have a few ideas that would complement your dessert. When you are having your dessert, order a glass of Hess Select. This wine from Monterrey is a tropical blend that goes well with many desserts. If you are restaurant hopping by yourself or with friends, then consider the Caribbean Rum Cake. This signature dish offers a unique flavor not found anywhere else in Fort Smith. This examiner would not recommend the same wine with this dessert. Instead, try Rolando’s Santa Margherita, or the Sauvignon Blanc. Both of these beverages will complement this original dessert and give you a great end to a fun evening.